To keep kids busy as everyone arrives.
BOOKS AND SONGS
Egg-carton insects: Give each child part of an egg carton. Put out red, brown, yellow, green, and black paint, as well as googly eyes and pipe-cleaner pieces for the antennae and legs. Encourage the kids to create ants, grasshoppers, caterpillars, ladybugs, and more.
Bug hunt: Gather some nets and containers and set off to find grasshoppers, crickets, ants, and more. If you can, collect some critters (alive and dead) in advance and have them on display. Then let the kids examine all the creatures with a magnifying glass. Help them identify which are insects (i.e., have three body segments, three pairs of jointed legs, and antennae) and which aren't.
Worms and dirt: Put three Oreo cookies in a bag for each child to crush. Dump bits in a Styrofoam cup and add gummy worms.
Bye-bye, fly: Divide the kids into teams and give each team two rolls of toilet paper. Designate one person per team the "fly." Tell the "spiders" they have to use both rolls to wrap up the fly they're eating for dinner. (Be sure to explain they can't wrap around the head or throat.) The team to finish first wins.
P-U Ants: Give the children mint leaves. Find some ants outside and lay the leaves in a circle around a few. Tell the kids to watch: Ants don't like the smell of mint, so they should stay in the circle. Repeat with other smelly foods, such as onions, garlic, or cinnamon.
Ants on a Stump: Have the kids put peanut butter on apple slices, and then sprinkle with raisins.
BOOKS AND CIRCLE TIME
Bug hotel: Have each kid cut two large holes in the sides of an empty oatmeal or milk container. Place the container at the bottom of a cut-off pantyhose leg. Start collecting!